KSENIYA SHUTURMINSKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KSENIYA SHUTURMINSKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Composite coloured scanning electron micrographs (SEMs) of brushite crystals grown on protein coated borosilicate glass. The flowers and butterflies are the crystals, while the stem is a protein aggregate. Brushite is a precursor to apatite, the main mineral content of human bones and teeth. There's a lot of interest in understanding how apatite formation occurs so that it can be replicated to treat decayed tooth enamel. The structures seen here form in the presence of proteins that can stabilize the brushite, which normally is not stable and dissolves easily.
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